PaDutchCulture.com
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We are a couple born and raised in the Pennsylvania Dutch counties of Berks and Lehigh. Jim speaks the Pa Dutch dialect fluently since childhood, and still uses it today among friends and family.

He was raised on a "fancy farm" that grew potatoes (grumbeera) where the family was self-sufficient, except for things like shoes and treats like oranges and canned pineapples for the holidays. There was always a quilt in the quilting frame, which was in the front room all winter long. At least six quilts were finished every winter. Until 8th grade, Jim went to a one-room schoolhouse where he received a "wunderbar" bi-lingual education.

They were called the "Fancy Dutch" because they had tractors, and drove cars and trucks. The "Plain Dutch" used tractors and wagons with steel wheels, believing that the rubber tires would poison the land. The Amish are still using only horses and shun tractors, cars and trucks.

His family used horses until the early 50's. Since potatoes were the main crop, horses were used to move the wagons along as the potatoes were picked and dumped into the wagons. All of this was done by hand using baskets according to your strength. You had to be strong enough to lift a basket about shoulder high to dump the potatoes into the wagons.

The baskets were made with willow and oak staves, and came in various sizes. Every spring a gypsy caravan would arrive and camp in grandfather's meadow. They repaired the baskets, patched pots and pans, sharpened scissors and had a campfire where they sang and danced every evening! Jim would sit on a bench and watch in fascination.

When it was time to harvest the potato crop, Jim's job was Wagon Master. When a wagon was filled, he would un-hitch the team and fetch an empty wagon for the pickers. The full wagons were pulled to the cellars by the tractors. The work was hard and tedious, but they ate well, and always had enough of everything. His family went to church every Sunday, and never worked on Sunday other then tending the animals. Such was the life of the Pa Dutch men and women.

We are proud to say we are Pa Dutch and love our heritage. These are his people and mine, too.

Barbara and Jim Greenawalt
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